For many years, I thought I had lost my faith - that I no longer believed in God. I never uttered the words 'atheist', though many of my friends embraced Disbelief at the time. There was a bleakness and a sadness without God I couldn't get past, something that still made me want to believe. I may have misplaced my hope and lost my footing, but the yearning and desire never went away.
That is when I started going to church again. I had my reservations about giving my children an imperfect tradition, but I had more concerns about raising them unchurched; that they would grow up with nothing to hold on to, nothing to give meaning to their lives or hope after the grave.
Or, as small children, they'd miss out on lessons in loving thy neighbor. That sort of thing.
Zack memorized the fruit of the Spirit yesterday in perfect Zack style - he numbered the virtues, like a shopping list, things to remember.
When we were leaving the parking lot after church, he commended me for being kind when I let some kids pass in front of my car. (As opposed to running them down like I normally do.)
"I think that is #4."
When his special burger, just with Mom, was taking 'too long', he softly remarked that patience was actually the fourth fruit. He closed his eyes, sighed and tried self-control as well.
It was a quiet moment, with no fanfare. No angels sang and the skies certainly did not part (we were in Oregon after all) but it was clear my commitment to church, even when I am exhausted or frankly uninspired, has begun to shape my kids in tangible ways. Good ways. Certainly not to my credit, and beyond what I could have hoped for when I started attending Imago two years ago.
And I thanked God for not forgetting me, even when I ran away.
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